JEA Unveils Intellectual Property Marks to Protect Producers


The Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) has moved to protect the interests of micro, small, and medium producers of goods and services for export, through the development of intellectual property marks.
The certification and collective marks, which were unveiled at the Alhambra Inn on Monday (December 3), are aimed at providing the entities with intellectual property protection in the global marketplace.
They are expected to go a far way in safeguarding the integrity of authentically produced Jamaican goods and services by countering piracy and counterfeiting, as well as ensuring that producers and exporters secure the benefits which can accrue to them.
Administration and management of the programme is being undertaken by the Competitiveness Company, a subsidiary of the JEA.
Attorney-at-law, Dianne Daley, of the law firm, Foga, Daley & Company, which assisted with development of the legal framework, explained that certification and collective marks were “special kinds of trademarks.”
“They are special in the sense that the certification mark is not just there to distinguish between competitors’ products, but it is also there to indicate which product is certified from which is not,” Miss Daley outlined, citing the Blue Mountain Coffee brand as an example.
The collective mark, she said, was owned by an association and was for usage by its members, adding that “it is used by associations, mainly, where you have products that are traded by a multiplicity of traders and you want them to ascribe to a certain standard.” She further explained that companies which are part of such associations benefit from a collective management and enforcement structure, which assists with product monitoring in the global marketplace. Miss Daley disclosed that the intellectual property marks would be filed with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), to ensure their protection. Head of the Competitiveness Company, Dr. Beverley Morgan, pointed out that the programme is being co-funded by the European Union, Government of Jamaica, and the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP). She noted that the programme would commence with five products and one service. These are: canned ackees, Jamaican jerk seasoning and sauces, honey, scotch bonnet pepper, and scotch bonnet pepper sauces, along with the visual arts. Dr. Morgan said the selections were based on the competitiveness of the products, international demand, and the availability of sufficient producers who were also engaged in trading internationally.
Come 2008, she said the Competitive Company would stage a series of one-on-one meetings with firms and individuals to get their support. Thereafter, the marks would be “launched at some of the major international markets where these products and services are sold.”
Dr. Richard Bernal, Director General of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM), underscored the importance of intellectual property marks.
He said they protect producers of goods and services from the “adverse of unfair competition”, facilitate a recovery of lost export opportunities; preserve producers’ and, ultimately, Jamaica’s reputation for excellence, increase export earnings, afford collective marketing, induce increased capital into the business and allow small firms to overcome the barriers arising from economies of scale.

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